Hearsay Festival 2015

Zoë Comyns and Lyric Feature's Eoin O'Kelly - Fireside chat at Hearsay 2015 (thanks to Cristin Leach Hughes for the photo)

Zoe Comyns and Lyric Feature’s Eoin O’Kelly – Fireside chat at Hearsay 2015 (thanks to Cristin Leach Hughes for the photo)

Zoë Comyns and Eoin O’Kelly (Lyric Feature) were in conversation at Hearsay Festival 2015 about the role of the presenter on air and in features. Below are a few areas which formed part of the discussion.

Eoin played a piece from Regan Hutchins feature on Limerick Churches which can be heard here:


This cleverly narrated feature is an example of how a narrator can serve as a link for the listener. In this case Regan was an outsider going into Limerick and the listener can travel with him.

Zoë played a piece from Seen From a Distance which is an example of how a narrator can be an insider in the piece (an insider going in deeper).

Listen here to the first to mins to get a sense of this style of narration:


We spoke about the way in which a narrator works best: when they’re involved in or part of the story. The conversation moved to examples of when a narrator can be removed entirely from the piece and Zoë played this piece broadcast on The Book Show in Season 1 (about 22.51 mins into the track):

Sinead Gleeson did an interview with St Vincent and this formed the basis of this piece which was then edited and mixed with St Vincent’s music to create a standalone piece.

Narrators and presenters serve as a guides through programmes. Listeners come to the programme to hear their voice. Many of The Book Show’s listeners would have heard Sinead Gleeson on other Arts related broadcasts and come to the book show to hear her. She is a trusted source for books and internationally recognised for her expertise.

Zoë finished by discussing  checklist before making a piece to help form a treatment or style of how the piece will be presented:

  • How many other ways could this piece work?
  • Who is the best person to be involved in the story? (is it someone with a profile/or an expert/trusted guide/no one/montage of voices)
  • If a producer is going to use a narrator what is her function – is she part of the story/does she simply provide VO for the story to transition from scene?
  • Think about scripting – particularly the tense used to write the script which will place the listen closer to the story (present tense versus past tense for example).